Colombia is the fifth most dangerous country in the world, according to a report released by the Geneva Declaration Thursday.
The world’s most dangerous countries
The report, which analyzes the effects of armed violence on development, revealed that the rate of violent deaths per capita in Colombia is the fifth highest in the world.
The Swiss funded study, called “the global burden of armed violence,” provides a global overview of violent deaths across the different forms of violence in both conflict and non-conflict settings.
The term “violent deaths” refers exclusively to the deliberate harming of fellow human beings.
The top 14 countries listed in the report have 5% of the world’s population, but account for one quarter of all global violent deaths.
El Salvador was recorded as the most violent country in the world with 60 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in the period between 2004 – 2009. Colombia recorded a death rate of over 43 deaths per 100,000 citizens in the same period.
The first 14 countries, of which Colombia was number five, were considered to have “extremely high violent death rates” – death rates of over 30 per 100,000 citizens per year. Of these 14 countries, seven are in the Americas. As a result, Central America is considered to be the most dangerous region in the world, while South America is the fifth.
The report found that there is a direct link between lethal armed violence and underdevelopment.
One of the authors and editors on the report, Keith Strausse, said “states with high levels of lethal violence almost always struggle to achieve the millennium development goals. We also know that when a country makes progress in terms of development, it is likely to exhibit decreasing levels of lethal violence.”
In terms of the total number of violent deaths, Colombia is one of five countries that witnesses over 1,000 violent deaths per year, along with the democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
The report also revealed that, contrary to popular belief, crime is a far greater cause of death than war. “Crime is the single largest contributor to violent killings,” concluded the UN-backed international study.
Although the media tends to focus heavily on the outcomes of war, the number of people dying in so-called non-conflict settings is actually far higher, with nine out of 10 violent deaths occurring outside of conflicts. Colombia was one of only six countries in the top 14 that were considered active conflict zones during the period 2004 – 2009.
According to the report, Colombia has seen a drop in violent deaths since 2004, when compared with the violent death rates from 2009.
The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development is a diplomatic initiative created by the United Nations Development Project and the Swiss Government, aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development.